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Yeah, in a basement. You know, fightin' in a basement offers a lot of difficulties. Number one being, you're fightin' in a basement.

Lt. Aldo Raine to Lt. Archie Hicox in ‘Inglourious Basterds’ by Quentin Tarantino. 

Image of A. Baker basement bar at NewActon, Canberra. Shot by Scottie Cameron.





Things we are thinking about, people we've met
and what’s happening in the Can Can.

  • Stories
  • People
  • Daily Rituals
  • Fix and Make
  • What's On

Beg, borrow and steal

Craig and the natives

Stop talking to me Ken now I have too many things to say about you

I understand sugar like a large field of game without limits

Adam and Amy Coombes

Sam and Claire Johnson

Eric Ahlfors

Edwin Odermatt

New rituals for play

The daily rituals of others (part two)

The ritual of limbering up

The daily ritual of long walks

Weak in Colour but Strong in Blood

WHEN Friday 4.12 to Saturday 13.2
WHERE Gorman Arts Centre

I Will Never Fade Away From You

WHEN Friday 4.12 to Saturday 13.2
WHERE Gorman Arts Centre

Think of your Thoughts

WHEN Thursday 26.11 to Sunday 6.12

Twenty Feet from Stardom

WHEN Wednesday 9.12 at 8PM
WHERE Gorman Arts Centre

Summer Garden Party

WHEN Friday 4.12 from 6PM til late.
WHERE Gorman Arts Centre

Words on a Wire

WHEN Thursday 3.12 at 7PM
WHERE Gorman Arts Centre

It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned ― Oscar Wilde


An old fashioned

The old fashioned - the old timer that keeps giving.


Lost Horizon

Star anise, gin and elderflower.


Nectar Efkarpidis

A curious mind

A walk about with Nectar Efkarpidis, Hotel Hotel’s cofounder and co-curator, will inevitably find you wandering down alleyways, through bookshops, flea markets, second hand shops and artists’ studios… Nectar is a lifelong collector; from seashells, amateur ceramics, shaped objects (collected for nothing more than their colour); to more rarefied items.

Sniffing out the “good stuff” to him is an irrepressible reflex.

It’s good fun trotting about the world looking at the wonderful things that people make and amass until you find yourself in tow in Mumbai with mad Delhi belly trying not to spew all over the beautiful-ugly green glass chandelier he’s found in an obscure flea market stall (true story). Or when you’re dragged to yet another bookshop in Tokyo to haul a load of books by bike to the post office… Or when you’re in Braidwood trying to fit a giant tin tub into a two door hatch back… Yes, yes, I hear you, thing could definitely be worse.

As someone who has been involved since the inception of Hotel Hotel though, talking with Nectar about concepts, names, configurations, artists, processes of making…

I can tell you that, to be totally honest, it’s bloody tiring…

But it’s also totally inspiring.

Nectar has a curious mind. Curious in that he makes desultory connections between things and people (which often amount to nothing). And curious in that he takes an interest in pretty much every thing and everything and in the possibility of those things.

These connections span over a wide range of concepts, objects, places and people and their unexpected relationships (when they do actually amount to something) make for strange and fantastical worlds.

I’ll take you to one now. It’s one in the making so we’ll see what comes of it in the future…

Nectar found a book called the ‘Toaster Project’ by Thomas Thwaites. It’s the story of how Thomas makes a toaster from scratch from his home in the UK – mining the raw materials, making the plastic, inventing a furnace from a microwave… He spends about a year making what is essentially the equivalent of a $6 toaster. It brings up questions about mass production and whether it’s okay to spend just $6 on a toaster whose parts are so resource intensive… And that will inevitably end up in landfill after just a few years.

After his book, Thomas spent a year investigating what it might be like to be a goat. He commissioned some prosthetic goat legs, consulted a behavioral expert, and lived with some goats (as a goat) on a goat farm in the Swiss Alps.

So naturally (?) Nectar made the connection between these thoughts of mass production and living with goats and is now talking to Thomas about forms of experimental living. Madness. But excellent madness.

In his soft and thoughtful voice Nectar will be giving an informal talk as part of our Fix and Make program alongside his lovely curatorial co-conspirators Ken Neale and Don Cameron.

The conversation will give unique insight into the curatorial approaches of three very unconventional collectors and curators — presenting new ways for finding value and meaning in objects. What makes stuff the “good stuff”? Are the stories about the stuff and the people that made it more important than the stuff itself?

The Fix and Make ’19 Objects – New Ways to Value’ is on Wednesday 25 November at 6PM in the Nishi Gallery at NewActon.

Book your tix.

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With all my love and mad deep thoughts

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Trent Jansen shot by Lee Grant

The Ownership of Things

For a hotel putting on a series of workshops and talks about fixing and making stuff (that’s us) it’s important to ask the question: What’s the point of stuff in the first place?

“If you look back through human history we’ve always had things. Some are symbols of community; some are used for trade. Many are cultural,” says Trent Jansen, the furniture and object designer who will join a panel of four at NewActon on Wednesday November 18 to really get to the guts of what it means to own all the things we humans do.

Being one of the world’s makers of stuff, Trent thinks about this all the time. “It becomes quite clear early on when you’re designing that you don’t really need anything new if the point is purely function,” he says. And if function was the point, we should have stopped at modernism.

We perpetually make and collect because things carry stories; like that piece of linen that reminds you of a parent, or the holiday you think back on every time you wipe the dust off that useless but beautiful paperweight.

Stuff also helps tell the story of us to others. “Things help identify us as someone. Maybe it’s magazines on display, art on walls, or cars in the garage. These things say to others what our priorities are. They show our ethics,” says Trent.

But let’s stop Trent right there. At ‘The Ownership of Things’ panel discussion he’ll reveal more of his ethics and philosophies along with entrepreneur and co-founder of GoGet Bruce Jeffreys; historian, artist and writer Anne Brennan; neuroscientist Dr Pascal Molenberghs, and the ABC’s Genevieve Jacobs (as moderator). Buy tickets here. Oh, and a drink is included in the ticket price. This will be very interesting.

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Junk Drawer Number Twenty-one

Fix and Make market day

FILED UNDER Fix and Make Junk Drawer POSTED BY Dan ()

#hotelhotel #hotelhotel #hotelhotel #hotelhotel #hotelhotel

Love that is not madness is not love.
― Pedro Calderón de la Barca

Pedro Calderón de la Barca – dramatist, poet and writer of the Spanish Golden Age.

Image of Lizzie pashing Gordon in the Monster Salon and Dining rooms shot by Lee Grant.


View All: Junk Drawer

New rituals for play

By Rachel Elliot-Jones and Dan Honey.


Play time is mandatory for both adults and children. It is recommended to laugh at least 15 times per day.
Nowhere Island Constitution, 2012


How many times did you play today? Was it once, was it twice, was it no times at all? Do you think you are ‘too old’ or ‘too busy’ or ‘too tired’ to let your mind wander and roam free. Has it been so long you’ve forgotten what it is to play? Allow us to give you a playful prod.


Play time is idle and unstructured – a delightful disruption to daily goings-on. When we play, we get lost in the moment. We aren’t fixating on outcomes or working towards an end goal. When we were kids, play was paramount. It’s how we made discoveries about the world around us, our bodies and universal laws. Thanks to play time, we learnt to problem-solve, think creatively, make friends and exercise our bodies and imagination.


So why does play peter out in adulthood? And how can we bring moments of play back to daily life? Can we find a way by connecting the freedom of play with the structure of ritual?


We all take part in simple rituals every day – mornings that begin with a carefully prepared tea or coffee, making a purposeful connection to green spaces at lunch, wilful avoidance of screens in the evening and nights that drift off with the turning of pages in a book. These deliberate acts are a form of mindfulness, helping to locate us in the present and prepare us for what comes next. A large portion of the rituals we enact each day are designed to bring calmness, tranquillity and poise. They are transformative in the sense that they bring slowness and solitude to our busy, highly connected lives.


Less commonly practised are rituals that are designed to bring humour, fun and discovery – rituals that help enliven our thinking, spark our imagination, widen our eyes and help us to connect with others physically.


There are some wonderful examples of interesting people incorporating ritualistic forms of play into their everyday.


Sabine Timm under her instagram pseudonym @virgin_honey takes daily walks on the beach, collecting small washed up objects. She playfully arranges these into tiny, fleeting sculptures.


British designer Daniel Eatock pairs and temporarily joins together two everyday objects – a basketball and a plunger, a watermelon and a swimming cap, an umbrella and a watering can.


Nomadic design collective, Field Experiments, during their three month residency in Indonesia structured in afternoon play sessions – where they would come together and stack, connect, balance and arrange their growing collection of everyday balinese objects.


Melbourne design duo Tin and Ed have established #tinandedRAD, an open-ended R&D project where they make playful arrangements from what is at hand. They document and share via their instagram.


Drawing from these influences we have created our own object-based play ritual. (We are particularly interested in object-based play. Studies show that in children, the more advanced your skills at object manipulation become, the richer the circuits in your brain will be – and we think the same goes for grown ups too). Give a go. Try it more than once. If you enjoy it, make it a regular thing. Share it with us.



  • 01

Find five things in the room around you


  • 02

Notice their different shapes, sizes, colours and textures.
Stack them one upon the other


  • 03

Observe how they fit together, balance or topple to the ground.


  • 04

Unstack and restack until you feel like stopping.


  • 05

Take a photo.
Allow a minimum of five minutes.

Share the photo on Instagram and tag @hotel_hotel and #hhdailyrituals or send it to us via hello@hotel-hotel.com.au

Comb sculpture by Sabine Timm

Watermelon by Daniel Eatock

Adhoc Furniture by Field Experiments

Tin & Ed R&D

Tin & Ed try our Play Ritual #1: Stacking

More stacking by Tin & Ed

A small stack by Tin & Ed

A toppling stack by Tin & Ed

A balancing stack by Tin & Ed

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Many Many + Honey Fingers

Rachel of Many Many and Nic of Honey Fingers shot by Lee Grant

Many Many

Rachel Elliot-Jones (Melbourne) and Stephanie Poole (Zurich) are the co-founders of Many Many – an itinerant curatorial and publishing platform that investigates rituals of making and interdisciplinary design.

Of the many many excellent things they do, worthy of note is their brilliant occasional publication ‘House Wear’. ‘House Wear’ looks at the condition of impermanence in our everyday lives and the effects this has on contemporary design, art, architecture and writing.

They have applied these thoughts to bees. Swarm traps to be precise; as part of a project with collaborative studio and urban beekeeping network Honey Fingers (Melbourne).

Many Many, Honey Fingers and beekeepers Dermot and Sarah Asis Sha’non (Canberra) are holding a Swarm Trap workshop as part of our Fix and Make program.

At the workshop you’ll learn how to make a pre-fab house for bees (to take home) and what to do if bees move in.

If you are in Melbourne a session is being held at the MPavillion Sunday 15.11; if you are in Canberra book your spot now for Spring.

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Junk Drawer Number Twenty

Play time


This week

What's on in November

Monthly Calendar

Art, Eat Drink, Film, Fix and Make, Live, Market, Music, Party, Talk, Walkabout, Workshop

The Best of What’s On in November


Oscar the Couch

ANU Graduating Exhibition 2015

Get on down and check out the work of some of Canberra's new and emerging artists who have just graduated from uni.

WHENFriday 27.11 to Sunday 6.12 Reception 27.11 at 6PM
WHEREANU School of Art
GORad Grad

Art Fix and Make

For School Varendorf

For School

An exhibition of handmade objects curated by Bree Claffey (Mr Kitly) and Sarah K (The Other Hemisphere / super cyclers) for school. 13 designers from around Australia. fixandmake.com.au

WHENSaturday 7.11 to 5.2 2016
WHEREThe object cabinets in the public lounge of Hotel Hotel
GOFix and Make


Sydney Ball Band No 2

Birth of the Cool

Birth of the Cool is a selection of major works by four painters: David Aspden, Sydney Ball, Michael Johnson and Dick Watkins that surveys the decade between 1963 and 1973.

WHENuntil Sunday 13.12
WHEREDrill Hall Gallery


Convo Yearbook

The Conversation Yearbook

To mark the publication of The Conversation’s 2015 Yearbook: Politics, Policy & the Chance of Change, join Michelle Grattan, Jack Waterford and Genevieve Jacobs in conversation.

WHENMonday 30.11 at 7.30PM to 8.30PM
WHEREMuse Bookshop
COST$10 includes a glass of wine or soft drink


Palestinian Film Fest

Palestinian Film Festival

Visit Palestine in Reel Time. Showcasing the best of Palestinian cinema from around the globe, the festival is an exciting opportunity to see and feel the diversity and creativity of Palestine.

WHENFriday 27.11 to Sunday 29.11
WHEREPalace Electric
GOReel Time




Inspired by the concrete screen brick, Alex Lewis presents a collection of digital prints that isolate and examine this modernist building detail.

WHENUntil 5.12


Climate March

People’s Climate March

As world leaders gather for UN climate talks in Paris, People's Climate Marches will take place in hundreds of major cities around the world.

WHENSunday 29.11 at 12PM
WHEREParliament House


Public Theatre

Pop Up Theatre

The Public Theatre is a pop up theatre in Civic inspired by the design of the Classic Greek theatre, brought to you by the Aspen Island Theatre Company. There's music, theatre and moofies.

WHENTuesday 17.11 to Sunday 29.11
WHERECivic Square


Art Fair

Designs from the Bush

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair is coming to Canberra.

WHENSaturday 21.11 to Saturday 29.11
WHERESuite 2, 72 Northbourne Ave, City
View All: What's On
Naomi-Taplin 11

Of clay

We visited Naomi Taplin on one of Sydney’s first spring afternoons. Her studio was quiet and cold in the base of a big brick building covered in “Coming Soon – Luxury Apartments” hoardings.

Despite few signs of packing, Naomi was getting ready to close out her temporary lease here in one week. Porcelain plates, bowls and light fittings covered every surface including makeshift tables of thin wood tops and milk crate legs with Naomi sat amongst it all. She’s earthy in that she speaks gently about really practical things. And in that her shoes are covered in dust.

Naomi’s business, named Studio Enti, makes the dishes you can eat off at Monster. They’re beautiful, neutral toned pieces that look nice with food on them but are also mighty enough to deal with dish liquids, dish washers, stacking and so on.

“I make it as thick as possible so people can use it everyday. You know it costs a lot of money to produce this sort of thing in Australia. And I think to have this balance between something being precious but usable is really important,” she says.

Naomi was born in Canberra but grew up in Queensland on a rose farm. With six children in the family her mum took up pottery for some cash on the side and made things our own mother’s bought: terracotta birdbaths and house numbers.

“They (mum and dad) had an old gas kiln that you had to turn up every hour. As a little girl I remember them getting up every hour throughout the night,” Naomi says. These days Naomi has an electric kiln that’s just shy of two Monster plates wide. Great because you don’t have to turn it up every hour, but annoying that it’s short of two Monster-plates wide (it makes the firing process that much longer).

Making ceramics it turns out is a time sink. Batches of work take three to six weeks to go from cradle to table. Naomi uses the process of slip casting over throwing on the wheel or hand building. It involves moulds, mixtures, firing, glazing and re-firing. Then there’s the whole business side of things: packing orders, talking to clients and so on.

“At the moment it’s pretty crazy because it’s just me trying to do all of this. There are lots of different stages trying to produce ceramics so every day there’s a different thing going on. That makes it really easy to fall behind,” she says.


Which is why Naomi is here seven days a week. When she’s by herself she works in quiet. When fellow ceramicists are in the studio the radio is on. Sometimes her four year-old daughter Luna comes in and plays with clay.

In the little time Naomi has outside of Studio Enti she hangs out with Luna and enjoys living in Sydney because of the ocean. “That’s my favourite thing at the moment, just to walk and swim. Sometimes you get to a point when you’ve been living in a city for so long that you want to get out. So Sydney is this nice middle ground,” she says.

Soon Naomi will return to Canberra to take part in our Fix and Make event series, which questions our consumption of and relationship with objects. She’ll be teaching Kintsugi – a Japanese technique for repairing smashed or chipped pottery where the damage is celebrated as a part of the object’s history rather than disguised. Book here. And save your smashed pottery pieces.

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